Megan Forbes - Manifesto

1. People should know that a technology is only as smart as its user.

Often times people get angry at their technologies, wondering why their phone "hates" them or their computer won't work. What they don't realize is that the technology is only as smart as the information put into it. Perhaps you are pressing the wrong button, or have downloaded something unknowingly that has a virus. My point being, technology cannot do anything we have not first programmed it to do. I feel very strongly that people who use technology should have some sort of knowledge in order to utilize it to its potential, or whatever the user's needs may be.

This statement rings true in all aspects of technology in all of our lives. If I cannot figure out how to use Mail Merge in Microsoft Word, and my job requires it, the computer will not immediately recognize that and do it anyway. If I don't punch in numbers on a phone, my phone will not be calling anyone. Technology is only intelligent because we make it that way.

My source, Miller's '"The Most Human Human": Can computers truly think?' brings in the Turing test, and makes mention of Watson, the computer that competed on Jeopardy. Watson would not have done anything if human beings had not programmed algarhythms into him (it) to prepare him to answer the questions. Miller mentions that computers may be programmed to grab more information than we do, but they do not improvise at all. Humans have the ability to improvise an answer, while computers cannot answer anything unless they have been programmed with a response.

People need to use technology for all of its wonderful capabilities, but the fear of technology needs to rest. Technology can only do what humans tell it to do.

Source: Miller, Laura. ""The Most Human Human": Can Computers Truly Think?." Salon.com. 26 Feb. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

2. People ought to realize social networks are around to stay.

You can hide from it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many more social networking sites are around, and they aren't going anywhere. Sure, people may invent the next "big thing," like Facebook replacing MySpace, but that doesn't mean the social media aspect disappeared. People connect with each other over social media, and in a world where face time is less necessary in order to do your job, or even find a mate, social media steps in.

I keep up with people I went to high school with and family that is far away through Facebook. I wouldn't know that my cousin in Colorado sells wine without social networking. I keep up with my boyfriend in the same sense. We use Facebook chat often in order to communicate. People find jobs via social networking all the time. Employers count on Facebook to see a real glimpse into the life of future employees, which is sometimes a good thing, and sometimes a bad one.

The source that I used, Manjoo's "Is Facebook a Fad," points out that you cannot switch social networking sites, unless your friends decide to as well. And as someone that has over 1000 "friends" on Facebook, I know that just joining another social networking site wouldn't work unless they did, otherwise there would be no networking. Manjoo's article focuses on Facebook, but he mentions the advertising benefits to "liking" something. Because of this, social networking sites will do anything in order to keep us around, so they can generate the revenue from those advertising companies.

Social network connects people, and allows them to be caught up on each others lives. It isn't going anywhere, so we might as well get used to it and let it work for us.

Source: Manjoo, Farhad. "Future of Social Networks: Will Facebook Remain the One Network to Rule Them All?" Slate Magazine. 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

3. People should use instant communication as a tool to help each other.

A text, a phone call, and even a tweet can change someone's life. Instant communication is a big part of who we are these days. Instead of having to wait by the telephone for an important phone call, we can go on with our lives and carry our phones with us. That alone is a big deal for some people. We tweet about a giveaway, or let each other know what is on sale. Twitter allows us to do that with people we don't even know. I have found out about Groupon deals through people I follow on Twitter, and I have never met these people in person. Someone is helping me save money, and they don't even know me.

My source, Vanderbilt's "Twaffic," talks about how Twitter let people in a traffic bind communicate with each other. A man's BMW breaks down, and he is able to tweet to others in the traffic about what is going on, and when the tow truck arrives. Tweeting traffic conditions (obviously when sitting still, no texting when driving!) can help someone who is a few minutes behind you take another route and avoid being late.

If we can help each other, we should; plain and simple. If a simple tweet or Facebook status will save someone time, money or energy, why not help them out? We have been provided with these resources, and using them to help each other is a major benefit.

Source: Vanderbilt, Tom. "Traffic Tweeting: Will Twitter Change the Way We Drive?" Slate Magazine. 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

4. Educators should realize the benefits of online resources for students.

A big debate in the education world right now is whether students can learn from online classes, and in my opinion, I think it depends on the student. However, online resources are such a big tool to students, that when an educator refuses to use them, it is like they are putting a barrier between a student and success. If I am able to go to class and then come home and have that information reinforced via an online source, such as an interactive homework assignment that shows me what I am doing wrong instantly, I am learning more.

If a student can sit in an hour long lecture, and actually listen instead of taking notes, because they know the lecture will be posted online that afternoon, that student may absorb more. Online resources allow the classroom to continue outside of building, letting students go back and see what they have learned, allowing students to be more interactive with each other without being in the same room. Posting grades online lets a student see how well or poorly they are doing in a class, and what they can do to achieve the grade they want.

My source, the New York Times Debate, "Can Students Learn From Online Classes," has a contributor that expands on the possibilities of online learning. Gary Stager, a teacher educator that is part of the debate states that, "My colleagues and I have demonstrated that online environments focused on collaboration and action, rather than reading and test-taking, can be more social, creative, substantial and personally meaningful than traditional classes." If a student can learn from collaboration and in a more creative way that just the good old reading, writing and 'rithmatic, why not provide them those resources?

Students should be able to learn the best way for them, and providing different ways to learn is a great way to make sure that happens.

Source:Stager, Gary. "Can Young Students Learn From Online Classes? - Room for Debate" The New York Times. 05 Apr. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

5. People should stop using personal music players as a tool to avoid others.

Headphones. The greatest avoidance tool in the world. People use their iPods to avoid having to communicate with others in many instances. On a train on the way to work in the morning, walking across the drillfield to class, sitting waiting for a presentation to start. Those headphones are a symbol that I am content in my solitude, please don't bother me. I like having conversations with people, and I know personally, when I see headphones in, I come to the instant realization that that person wants to be left alone.

People complain that there is less face time for people, due to social networking. However, as much as social networking is "to blame," personal music players are a big part of the problem as well. We don't have to talk to each other because we create an invisible barrier that no one dares to cross. And, on the off chance someone wants to cross it, we can just pretend we don't hear them, cause hey, there are headphones there, and we could be blasting our music at any volume.

While having a break from the world is nice, we might miss meeting someone that could change our lives. Maybe online dating sites wouldn't be as prevalent, because people would exchange pleasantries on a bus or train, instead of listening to their music. My source, Savel's "Wall of Sound," talks about how music is no longer something people enjoy in a social gathering. It is not something people use to unite each other, but rather something that pulls people apart. One of the large points made is that people are afraid of silence. People are afraid to sit in a room together without any kind of barrier.

While concerts still provide for an atmosphere of togetherness, people need to stop using music to avoid each other, when it's original intent was to bring people together.

Source:Saval, Nikil. "The IPod Has Changed the Way We Listen to Music. And the Way We Respond to It. " Slate Magazine. 28 Mar. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

6. People should utilize the internet for its capabilities without becoming addicted.

I love the internet, and I love what it allows me to do. I love that I can talk to my boyfriend who is 200 miles away. I love that I can get my homework done from the comfort of my own living room, instead of having to go to the library. But that doesn't mean I can't turn off my computer and go for a run, or to the store, or just read a book. I don't have a smart phone, and even if I did, I don't know that I would use the internet constantly.

It is easy to become addicted to the internet. Everything we own has some kind of internet capabilities. My Nook allows me to surf the web, and I bought it to read books on. People are constantly checking their email, playing on Facebook, updating their Twitter; and while I believe using social networks to help people is a great tool, it is not something you should be constantly doing. Have a conversation with a person right next to you without checking your email. These days, it is hard to do. Everyone can be connected to the internet, so checking it is not a big deal or difficult to do.

My source, Heffernan's "Miss G: A Case of Internet Addiction," discusses a girl in her late teens that is surfing the internet until 4am most nights. She goes through the process of seeing simple song lyrics and how two hours later she ends up posting a picture semi-related to her Facebook. This girl spends a majority of her day on the internet, and not for something that is beneficial to her most of the time. She is addicted.

The internet is a great resource, and we should use it for the resource that it is. But constantly surfing the web can have an affect on personal relationships and enjoying what is around you.

Source: Heffernan, Virginia. "Miss G: A Case of Internet Addiction." The New York Times. 9 Apr. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011